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Haunting juxtapositions: gender, Covid-19, and the conservative modern

Tafakori, Sara (2022) Haunting juxtapositions: gender, Covid-19, and the conservative modern. Feminist Media Studies, 22 (6). 1546 - 1552. ISSN 1468-0777

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14680777.2021.1893781


Feminist scholarship on the Middle East has often critiqued binaristic framings of gender rights which draw on Western-centric tropes of cosmopolitan modernity versus local backwardness. What I argue, through examining visual mediations of Covid-19 on Iranian social media, is that gender is reconfigured in this context as part of a nationalism that is both modernising and conservative. I particularly focus on how montage—a modernist visual genre—is utilised in the production of an Iranian national security imaginary which combines a rhetoric of modern, mixed-gender medical care with haunting resonances of male martyrdom and sacrifice during the Iran–Iraq war. While much has been written recently about Covid and national security, what is less discussed is how particularistic narratives of crisis can produce innovative reconfigurations of gender and modernity. Yet while Benjamin envisaged montage as a weapon in the destruction of aura, here, I argue, the deployment of aura supports the state’s “capture” of haunting affects as it seeks to re-shape national memory. What this suggests is that crisis permits a conditional shifting of gender roles, but this move is legitimated through the invocation of a redemptive history, wherein the nation re-emerges triumphant out of disaster.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 15:12
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 04:57

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